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Gov’t receives aid materials for prisoners

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The General Department of Prisons has received aid materials from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for distribution to prisoners across the country. UNODC

Gov’t receives aid materials for prisoners

The General Department of Prisons has received aid materials from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for distribution to prisoners across the country.

The general department deputy director, Nuth Savna, said the donations consist of face masks, cleaning supplies, and other equipment. A decision concerning their deployment was pending.

“Hygienic supplies for 3,335 detainees were donated in part by the Japanese government through UNODC in response to flooding at M2 [Prey Sar Prison] and in Banteay Meanchey [province]. Now that the floods have receded, we are considering where to distribute the materials,” Savna said, adding that the UN’s response to flooding and Covid-19 prevention in prisons was also closely coordinated with the International Committee for the Red Cross.

“So far, the assistance from the two donors has yet to be distributed to the target areas. We are assessing the situation regarding the needs of each target area, and then we will distribute those materials accordingly,” he said.

UN resident coordinator to Cambodia Pauline Tamesis told The Post on December 23 that the UN mission has provided a wide range of support to Cambodia’s prison system for over 20 years through its various agencies. Support has included consumable materials, legal and policy development, prison system modernisation and professionalism training as well as prison monitoring and related advocacy.

Tamesis said the UN team met with the prison general department’s director-general and visited the Phnom Penh-area prisons affected by October flooding. UNODC assistance delivered on December 22 covered priority medicines, hygiene kits and other supplies requested by the general department, she said.

When Battambang province was flooded in October, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights provided 950 sandbags to the provincial prison and delivered sanitary supplies to the prison general department, including soaps, detergents, sanitary pads, toothpaste and toothbrushes, to improve hygiene in prisons within the context of Covid-19 prevention efforts, Tamesis said.

She said UNICEF also provided soap to 1,000 juvenile and female prisoners evacuated from Banteay Meanchey to Siem Reap prison during the October floods.

“The UN considers the health of prisoners to be part of public health concerns, particularly in the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic. It is the responsibility of the state to put in place the provisions of healthcare for prisoners and detainees and ensure that they enjoy the same standards of healthcare that are available in the country for the general public.

“The UN in Cambodia has consistently engaged with local authorities and encouraged them to take all necessary measures to ensure that prisoners and detainees are not neglected and that they have equal and equitable access to public health measures,” Tamesis said.

As of March 2020, there are nearly 39,000 prisoners and detainees across the country.


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